I recently was part of an interview panel for a candidate who’d applied for a management role. We asked about using evidence in decision making versus experience, intuition and gut feel. After some thought, our candidate preferred the latter. Interestingly most people do. Our candidate was thinking of examples where “it feels like the right thing to do” had worked well. And this of course was evidence itself of previous successful decision making, even if not quantified specifically.
But decisions are rarely clear cut. They require facts, introduced early on to help our thinking. They shouldn’t be ignored or deemed irrelevant if they don’t suit the answer we’ve already settled on. Experience and intuition have a critical role, but not exclusively.
For example, evidence of customer preferences, purchasing history and demographics is the lifeblood of successful companies. Analysed and used wisely it is the key to areas such as loyalty, pricing and customer care. Evidence should always be the starting point. What do we already know about our customers? It’s an important question and the answer is more than we think, in virtually every case.
When we weighed up the evidence of our candidates suitability, he was offered the role.